Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tea company created world's first business computer

Go figure, the computing revolution started at a tea company.

A recent story from the UK Telegraph looks back at the history of LEO, the world's first business computer — which came from a perhaps unlikely source: "Today computing breakthroughs are made by highly-specialised technology firms, but LEO was created by J Lyons and Co, operator of tea shops, manufacturer of biscuits and founder of the Wimpy burger chain."

LEO (Lyons Electronic Office) was a series of large cabinets of vacuum tubes and circuits, which took up 5,000 square feet of office space. Its job was to calculate bakery distribution and eventually tea production. It also stole the jobs of hundreds of clerks, who previously did this work by hand.

Interesting to think of as you read this on a computer that fits in your lap, if not your palm. Science is wonderful.

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